Alan Keyes, who previously warned that openly gay Boy Scouts will peer pressure their fellow scouts into being gay, today argues that the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift the ban on gay youth now means that scouts will be able to engage in “sex, drugs, lying, stealing, and beating people up for the heck of it” and join “street gangs” so long as it is not during scouting activities.
This is why scouting has had such an enormous and lasting impact on the lives of so many men. It was not just a way of passing the time. It was training for life, intended to become a way of life. The scout oath wasn’t a pledge to behave a certain way during scouting activities. It was a commitment to respect the scouting standard of virtue in every aspect of life. That’s why “being such a boy scout” became the proverbial term for someone who refused to go along with the crowd when doing so involved engaging in wrong activities, activities like lying, or bullying, or stealing, etc. That’s why so many young men who accepted and tried to live by the scout oath became outstanding leaders in other walks of life, especially those that required individual moral courage, and/or the physical stamina and bravery it produces.
As it stands, the BSA’s decision formally abandons the notion that scouting is a way of life. It puts the movement in the position of saying that you can adopt one standard during scouting activities, and another for your other life activities, as if scouting is simply a game where certain rules apply while you’re on the field. If this is true with respect to the fundamental obligations of love and respect that are the basis of family life, what of the other aspects of the scouting oath and ethos? Will being a boy scout now mean that you are trustworthy during scouting activities, but lie and cheat in other respects? Will it mean helping old ladies across the street as a troop exercise on Saturday, after a little exercise in purse snatching with the gang on Friday night?
To be sure, “he’s a real boy scout” will no longer be available as a sneering term of disapproval from the worldly wise. And youngsters who join the scouts will no longer have to feel torn between the choices they are supposed to make as scouts and the choices they are pressured to make by their peers. So long as they refrain from sex, drugs, lying, stealing, and beating people up for the heck of it during scouting activities, they can feel free to admit that they engage in those activities in the street gangs or school cliques that once shunned and ridiculed “real boy scouts.”
Sadly, the people who have shunned “real boy scouts” in this way have a better sense of integrity with respect to their vicious ways of life than the so-called leaders who just voted to abandon the integrity of the scouting way of life. They know that the effort to mix their vices and the virtues of scouting is a problem that has no solution. “Choose you this day whom you will serve” will always be the challenge that demands separating the one from the other. The BSA once stood clearly on the side of the right choice. Now they stand for the deceitful notion that you can serve God and mammon.